In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair drew more than 450,000
people to a pasture in Sullivan county. For four days, this site
became a countercultural mini-nation in which drugs were all
but legal, music was plenty, and love was free. The music began
Friday afternoon at 5:07 p.m. August 15, and continued until mid-
morning Monday August 18. The festival closed the New York State
Thruway and created one of the nation’s worst traffic jams. It
also inspired a bunch of local and state laws to ensure that
nothing like it would ever happen again.
Woodstock was the idea of four young men: John Roberts, Joel
Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. The oldest of the four
was 26. Their original odea was to have it in Wallkill, New York,
but the residents objected so greatly, that the site was then
taken to a farm about eight miles outside of Bethel, N.Y. ,
population 3,900. There was objections from this city as well,
but a permit had already been purchased to have a concert, so not
much could be done about it.
Although the conditions were terrible, (Lack of food, sparse
sanitation facilities, drugs and alcohol, mud, to name a few)
there were no violent acts at the festival.
Drugs were a problem at the festival, nearly ninety percent of
the people there were smoking marijuana. There were no violence
problems though. Approximately one hundred percent of the 33
people arrested were charged with drug-related charges.
Food shortage was a problem since so many people showed up who
the festival organizers wree not prepared for. Only 60,000
people were expected to attend, yet on the first day alone,
500,000 frankfurters and hamburgers were consumed. Constant
airlifts were being operated from the site and outlying areas,
bringing in a total of 1,300 pounds of canned food, sandwiches,
and fruit. In fact, the food problems were so great that the
Women’s Group of the Jewish Community Center of Monticello and
the Sisters of the Convent of St. Thomas prepared and distributed
30,000 sandwiches for the festival go-ers.